Hearing loss changes our everyday life. Even simple conversations can be frustrating and tiring for people with hearing loss. Active communication is difficult, which can quickly lead to isolation. Hearing loss can have many causes. But in most cases, hearing loss can be addressed successfully. Better hearing means a better life. Our goal is to provide you with the best hearing technology available so that you can rediscover your hearing and reconnect with the important things around you.
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Who Should be Screened for Hearing Loss?
People of any age can be screened for hearing loss. Newborn infants are now routinely screened before leaving the hospital. Most preschoolers and school-age children are screened periodically at their schools or in their doctors’ offices. Adults can receive screenings from their doctor or at health fairs.
Hearing loss increases as a function of age, especially for frequencies of 2000 Hertz (Hz) and above. Sounds above 2000 Hz are the soft consonant sounds such as /s/ in “sun” and /th/ in “thumb.” These sounds contribute most to our understanding or clarity of speech. While more than 30% of people over age 65 have some type of hearing loss, 14% of those between 45 and 64 have hearing loss. Close to 8 million people between the ages of 18 and 44 have hearing loss. Adults should be screened at least every decade through age 50 and at 3-year intervals thereafter.
Certainly, anytime you have a concern about your hearing or your child’s hearing, you should ask your doctor about getting a hearing screening. Anyone failing a hearing screening should be referred to a licensed audiologist for a more comprehensive audiologic (hearing) evaluation. The follow-up evaluation should be conducted as soon as possible after the failed hearing screening and no more than 3 months later.
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Diagnostic services offered
A comprehensive audiological evaluation includes several tests of the auditory system. A measure of hearing sensitivity is conducted in a soundproof booth, through earphones. An individual will be given pure tone stimuli that assess hearing sensitivity at various pitches. The softest tone that the person responds to (threshold) will be plotted on a pitch-loudness graph called an audiogram. The hearing test also includes measures of word recognition (speech discrimination) ability. Other tests assess movement of the eardrum (tympanometry), middle ear muscles, and otoacoustic emissions, the latter comprising the minimal test battery. An audiological evaluation provides information as to whether an individual has normal hearing sensitivity or if there is a hearing deficit. Results of the hearing test can provide information about whether the loss is due to mechanical involvement of the middle ear structures (conductive hearing loss), or if it involves the cochlea, auditory nerve (sensorineural hearing loss), or whether there is the possibility of auditory processing disorder (APD).
While the individual is in the sound booth, the presence or absence of hearing loss, as well as the degree of hearing loss at different frequencies, is determined by the individual’s response to listening to different tones. The middle ear and eardrum are evaluated during a diagnostic evaluation and speech discrimination is also evaluated.
As the individual is in the sound booth, the presence or absence of hearing loss and the degree of hearing loss at different frequencies, is determined by the individual’s response to listening to tones.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) ~Ages 2 weeks to 3 months
Surface Electrodes are taped on the baby’s forehead and behind their ears to read the response from the brain. The baby must be asleep for testing.
Visual Response Audiometry (VRA) ~Ages 9 months to 2 years old
The child is placed in the sound booth and responds to the sounds they hear by turning their head to the sound.
Conditioned Play Audiometry ~2 to 4 years old
The child plays a listening game with blocks or pegs.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) and Tympanometry ~Ages 4 months and up
A small rubber tip is placed in individual’s ear to check for fluid and to measure the responses of the inner ear to sound.
Auditory Processing Disorder (Tympanometry APD Testing) ~Ages 6 & up
Very specialized testing to assess a child and/or adult’s ability to process auditory information, we are trying to pin point strengths and weakness for the individual.
Videonystagmography (VNG) - Dizziness testing
This tests the balance system. We use special goggles to measure and record eye movements during different testing situations (ocular tests on the wall, positional tests where the head is put in different positions, and caloric testing where we put air in the ears to measure the response of the balance canals).
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Vestibular or Balance Services
Patients with the following symptoms should contact their physician or call us for a referral to our balance clinic:
- Feeling of motion, spinning or falling with head movements or changing position e.g. getting in and out of bed
- Sense of unsteadiness, lightheadedness or imbalance
- Fear of falling
- Difficulty keeping balance when walking on different surfaces, e.g. tile to carpet
- A feeling like you are drifting or being pulled to one side while you are walking
- Inability to keep eyes focused on a target when walking.
- Dizziness with accompanying hearing loss or feeling of fullness in the head.
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